With Chicago-area Stanley Cup celebrations waning and Blackhawks prospect camp ending on Friday, general manager Stan Bowman can get back to tying up some loose ends with this team.
One of those, signing Marcus Kruger, should be done very soon.
Bowman said the Blackhawks are “very close” to signing the Swedish center to a new deal, likely a two-year one, and something should be done soon. Bowman said there’s no serious reason why the deal has taken some time to get done; but with Cup revelry and prospect camps now over, Bowman can complete a few things.
“Their side had a lot of clients they’ve been working on, and there’s been a lot going on here,” Bowman said of the slower negotiations. “But it hasn’t been a difficult negotiation.”
Getting Kruger’s deal complete is part of a laundry list Bowman will tackle more this week. There’s also getting a new goaltending coach to replace Stephane Waite, who took the same job with the Montreal Canadiens at the end of June. Bowman said he’s also looking to sign Drew LeBlanc to a new deal.
“I’ve talked to Drew’s agent; he’s one of a few guys we still have to (sign),” Bowman said. “We have some contracts to finish up, but we’ll get him signed, for sure. He’s another guy in the mix — he doesn’t get mentioned as much. He had a great season last year, played for Team USA and that was a great experience for him. We expect him to be pushing (at training camp).”
Hawks should be healthy come training camp
Bryan Bickell had thumb surgery a few weeks ago, and Bowman said other Blackhawks had some minor ones, but everyone should be ready to go come training camp. Marian Hossa will not have to have surgery on his back, Bowman said.
“There are a lot of guys who play through some tough injuries in long playoff battles; they play through things that most people wouldn’t be able to play with. Hat’s off to them,” Bowman said. “But we expect a full roster for training camp.”
Teravainen getting stronger
Teuvo Teravainen didn’t participate in this prospects camp — he’s going to another camp in August in New York, and the Blackhawks decided there was no need for him to make multiple trips to the U.S. But Bowman said the Finnish forward is getting stronger.
“He could be the top center (for Finnish hockey team Jokerit) this season I believe. We’re pleased with his progress,” Bowman said. “He’s gained strength; he needed to get stronger and still does, but he’s worked at it. We’re looking forward to having him in the (Blackhawks) uniform at some point. He’s going to electrify fans for some time.”